Julius Malema

President, ANC Youth League

Whether you need help getting a tender,
qualifying for a job or securing votes for a
political position � Julius Malema is your man.
The ANC Youth League president managed to
move from being a young leader with a penchant
for the politically incorrect to becoming a wealthy
powerbroker in the ruling party. And he had an
exceptional presidential term. until recently.
At the end of 2009 Malema looked indestructible,
with President Jacob Zuma calling him a future
ANC president.
With Johnnie Walker Blue Label in one hand and
the keys to a million-rand Range Rover in the other,
he convinced infl uential business people such as
Patrice Motsepe that nationalisation of the mines
� a Malema-esque interpretation of the Freedom
Charter � is the only way to lift the underclass out
of poverty. Although the idea was met with great
skepticism, even by communists, Malema soldiered
on, convinced that his might in the party would allow
him to prevail.
Then 2010 arrived.
He woke up one Sunday to damaging newspaper
reports that exposed his involvement in government
tenders worth hundreds of millions of rands. His
response: wax lyrically at press conferences about
journalists' sexual behaviour and bribery allegations.
Then in March Malema outdid even himself. He
went to Zimbabwe to express support for Robert
Mugabe, kicked a BBC journalist out of a press
conference, calling him a "bloody agent� , sang "Kill
the Boer� at the top of his lungs after being told not to
and then said former president Thabo Mbeki was more
youth league-friendly than President Jacob Zuma.
Two months later, he was in front of the ANC
disciplinary committee forced formally apologise to
Zuma and pay a R10 000 fi ne. The worst punishment
of all? Attending anger management classes.
But disciplinary hearing did more than embarrass
him. It gave Malema's detractors exactly what they
needed to prove that he is not fi t to be a leader. Now
some of his most trusted comrades are whispering
that he should be challenged at the 2011 Youth
League conference.
The story of Malema shows the ANC at its worst �
greedy, intolerant and power-crazy. And it also shows
how an illustrious liberation movement can be held
ransom by a 29-year old Gucci-wearing politician. All
of which makes Malema the most influential youngster
in the country. � Mandy Rossouw

Lunch spot: At home, Sandton